Misogyny in China: Your boyfriend is a foreigner, you must be an easy girl!

Hate speech and online harms

On Zhihu, a Chinese Q&A platform similar to Quora, numerous questions have been raised regarding “easy girls,” particularly in relation to why there are many such girls in China, how to avoid them, and what kinds of easy girls people have encountered. These inquiries are all focused on categorizing specific Chinese girls as “easy girls,” which refers to those who have foreign boyfriends, particularly those who are white. These Chinese girls were given bad reputations by Chinese guys just because they had foreign boyfriends. Is it wrong to have a foreign boyfriend?

I married a foreign guy, am I an easy girl?

According to the urban dictionary, “easy girl” refers to a woman who is much like a slut, which is easy for men to take sexual advantage of. But in the context of China, easy girls often refer to those who have foreign boyfriends.

Today, interracial marriages are very common. According to Pew research center, by 2015, the proportion of newlyweds in intermarriage rates had risen to 17% in the US. More than 670,000 newlyweds in 2015 had recently entered into a marriage with someone of a different race or ethnicity (Livingston & Brown, 2017). However, From 2007 to June 2016, a total of 113.26 million marriages were registered in China, of which a total of 449,000 foreign-related marriages were registered, accounting for 0.4% of the total number of marriages registered. (jiaoyouwang, 2022)

In China, interracial marriages are not the mainstream of the marriage market due to China is not a country of immigrants and multiracial. It is very widely known that Chinese girls who have foreign boyfriends (especially white) will be unkindly called “easy girls” by Chinese guys on social media.  

Hate speech towards women: Men in transnational relationships are generally considered to win honour for the country, while women are called “easy girls”

According to Flew (2021), The expansion of online hate speech and its magnification through digital platforms and social media has been recognized as a noteworthy and increasing source of concern. The definition of hate speech encompasses language that expresses, incites, encourages, or fuels animosity towards a specific group of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation. (Parekh, 2012,p.40; as cited in Flew, 2021).

One of the main features of hate speech identified by Parekh is it stigmatizes the target group by implicitly or explicitly ascribing to it qualities widely regarded as highly undesirable (Flew, 2021). Chinese men will call women with foreign partners easy girls and make hate speeches on the internet just by a picture or a video. The so-called “easy girl” itself carries a more or less “slut-shaming” of women. In some countries or regions with serious misogynistic culture, men will regard women as the sexual resources of their own country or region, and if women have sex with or marry men from foreign countries or ethnic groups, it will be regarded as some kind of “passive plundering of sexual resources” by this group of people(Yililan, 2021). So “easy girl”, a word that in English has a “slut shaming” for women in general, has another special meaning in China, that is, women who are seen as sexual resources attracted or plundered by the opposite sex of a foreign race, unloving and frivolous.

Chinese women are called easy girls, while Chinese men in transnational relationships are generally considered to win honour for the country. This gender inequality can have many bad effects. This type of hate speech often takes the form of derogatory and offensive comments, as well as the spread of harmful stereotypes and misinformation about Chinese women who choose to date foreign men.

Fundamentally, hate speech refers to any sort of speech that disparages or dehumanizes a certain group of people because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other personal traits. The use of hate speech as a justification for prejudice, marginalization, and violence against particular groups is common.

In the case of Chinese women who have foreign boyfriends, hate speech is often through xenophobic and racist comments. These comments insinuate that these women are turning their back on their culture and ethnicity. They portray Chinese women as submissive, passive, and unable to make their own decisions, often based on stereotypes and false information. These stereotypes not only dehumanize and marginalize Chinese women, but also perpetuate harmful ideas about gender roles and relationships. These interpretations that paint Chinese women as inferior to foreign men reinforce gender power dynamics that can undermine women and their autonomy.

The Damaging Impact of Hate Speech on Individuals and Society

The consequences of such hate speech can be significant, both for the targeted individual and for society. In the targeted individual, hate speech can lead to feelings of isolation, fear, and demeaning as a person. It can also affect their mental health and well-being, leading to anxiety, depression, and other negative outcomes. Moreover, hate speech can result in more extensive societal issues like the reinforcement of negative stereotypes and the acceptance of prejudice towards communities. This can intensify the isolation of these groups and foster a climate of hostility and narrow-mindedness.

Example: an influencer who encountered hate speech

Aria, a Chinese influencer based in Australia who is in a relationship with an Australian man, frequently shares content about her relationship on her platform. Unfortunately, she has received numerous hate comments such as “easy girl” and slut-shaming in her comment section. Is there anything inherently wrong with her dating an Australian man? Aria has taken action to respond to this hate speech by creating a video addressing the issue, which can be viewed through the provided link. http://xhslink.com/qZof8o

Combating Hate Speech on Little Red Book: Steps Towards Tolerance and Inclusion

Little Red Book is a Chinese social media platform that caters to a predominantly female user base. It is known for its focus on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content, as well as for its e-commerce capabilities. As with any social media platform, Little Red Book has a responsibility to ensure that its users are not engaging in hate speech or promoting harmful stereotypes. In this chapter, I will examine the platform’s responsibility in this regard, and discuss some potential steps it could take to combat hate speech.

Little Red Book should take concrete steps to combat hate speech against Chinese women who date foreigners. One approach is to implement AI and ML tools to automatically detect and remove abusive content. These tools can analyze user posts for harmful language and flag it for review by human moderators. This can help to reduce the workload of moderators and ensure that harmful content is removed promptly and efficiently.

Little Red Book should also provide users with clear and accessible reporting mechanisms that allow them to flag content that violates community guidelines. These reports should be reviewed promptly, and appropriate action should be taken in response.

The platform should invest in education and awareness-raising campaigns that promote tolerance and combat hate speech. These campaigns should aim to educate users about the harm caused by hate speech and discriminatory behavior, as well as encourage users to report abusive content and promote constructive dialogue between different groups. They should also provide information about the diversity of Chinese women who date foreigners and challenge the harmful stereotypes that surround them.

Little Red Book should also have clear policies against hate speech and discrimination and enforce them consistently. The platform should make it clear to users that hate speech and discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated, and that violators will face consequences such as account suspension or termination. It should also be transparent about its moderation processes and the criteria used to determine what constitutes hate speech.

Furthermore, Little Red Book should ensure that its content is inclusive and promotes diversity. The platform should be mindful of the diverse backgrounds of its users and ensure that its policies and actions do not perpetuate harmful stereotypes or discriminate against any group. It should also encourage content creators to create inclusive content that promotes diversity and challenges harmful stereotypes.

Little Red Book has a unique opportunity to combat hate speech against Chinese women who date foreigners by promoting positive messages and challenging harmful stereotypes. By fulfilling its platform responsibility, Little Red Book can create a safer and more inclusive community for all users.

Fighting Hate Speech and Discrimination: Advancing Towards a More Inclusive Society

It is crucial to take a stand against hate speech and combat the underlying harmful stereotypes and misinformation. This can be achieved through various means, such as education and awareness-raising initiatives, as well as promoting inclusive and respectful dialogue between diverse groups.

For instance, organizations can initiate public campaigns to educate people about the detrimental impact of hate speech and provide support for individuals who have been victims of it. Social media platforms can also play a vital role in this effort by enforcing strict policies against hate speech and offering users tools to report abusive content. It is also important to recognize that hate speech against Chinese women who have foreign boyfriends is part of a broader pattern of discrimination and marginalization that affects many different groups. This includes individuals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.

Through collective efforts to address hate speech and discrimination, we can establish a society that embraces diversity and equality for everyone. This entails a dedication to education, constructive communication, and a readiness to confront our own prejudices and preconceptions.

Balancing Freedom of Expression and Hate Speech: Navigating the Delicate Line

The challenge is that concerns about hate speech coexist with the right to freedom of expression. This prompts the familiar question of how to balance the competing principles of promoting freedom of expression and minimizing censorship on the one hand, and having effective legal sanctions against hate speech and online abuse on the other. This has been a recurring dilemma throughout the history of the internet. Its early advocates strongly argued that the internet is a platform for freedom of expression(Flew, 2021).

An article in Communication Currents, published by the National Communication Association (NCA), discusses the relationship between content censorship and freedom of expression, stating that content censorship facilitates diversity of expression, as some groups on the web may fight the right of other groups to speak without regulation. Taking this logic a step further, we can see that sometimes the people who raise the banner of “freedom of speech” may be the real censors, because under the cover of this banner, they create insulting, hateful, and misleading speech on a large scale to deprive groups they dislike and disagree with of the right to speak, and the right to be heard after they speak. and the right to be heard after speaking.

The distinction between free speech and hate speech is intricate and can be influenced by various factors such as local laws and contextual considerations. Although free speech is a fundamental human right that enables individuals to express their views without fearing government censorship, it is not absolute and can be constrained in particular circumstances like when the speech incites violence, constitutes defamation, or involves harassment.

Hate speech, conversely, is a form of language aimed at belittling or dehumanizing a particular group of people based on factors such as their perceived race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. While free speech principles typically protect hate speech, it can transgress the limits when it promotes discrimination or incites violence against a specific group.

Generally, the boundary between free speech and hate speech is established by finding a balance between the freedom of expression and the need to protect individuals and communities from harm. It is crucial to recognize that hate speech can result in real-world consequences, leading to discrimination, exclusion, and even violence.


Flew, T. (2021). Regulating Platforms. Polity Press.

Jiaoyouwang, aiwujie. (2022, January 19). China’s foreign marriage statistics in 2020, are they increasing or decreasing year by year? Www.iouclub.com. https://www.iouclub.com/news/detailed_6566.html

Livingston, G., & Brown, A. (2017, May 18). Trends and patterns in intermarriage. Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2017/05/18/1-trends-and-patterns-in-intermarriage/

Yililan. (2021, January 31). Your boyfriend is a foreigner. Weixin Official Accounts Platform. https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/k8snBmT13rh0LrSm7vwacA

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